Affected by the global upsurge of intelligence and unmannedization, the manufacturing industry has also accelerated the pace of change. In recent years, as the basic handling tool of CIMS (computer integrated manufacturing), the application of AGV trolley (hereinafter referred to as AGV) has penetrated into many industries such as machining, home appliance production, microelectronics manufacturing, cigarettes, etc. The production and processing field has become the most widely used AGV field of. As an intelligent transportation equipment connecting intelligent system manufacturing, intelligent factories, and intelligent system freight logistics, AGV plays a vital role in the entire process of production automation.

AGV is the abbreviation of Automated Guided Vehicle, which means automatic guided transport vehicle. It refers to a transport vehicle equipped with automatic guidance devices such as electromagnetic or optical, laser guidance, etc., which can travel along the specified guidance path, and has safety protection and various transfer functions. AGV has a history of more than 60 years. It originated in the United States and was later promoted in Europe, followed by Japan, and then to China. Although the development of AGV in my country is relatively late, the development speed is very rapid. With the acceleration of industrial automation reform and the widespread use of GPS technology, AGVs are penetrating into all walks of life at an unprecedented speed, and the types and forms have become more diverse.

1. Division of development stages

Throughout the development of AGV, it can be roughly divided into four stages: magnetic guide, image recognition, laser guidance and autonomous movement.

AGV development history and prospects

  Magnetic Navigation QR Code Navigation


      SLAM Navigation Autonomous Movement

2. Development history

2.1 Origin in Europe and America

AGV development history and outlook

In 1913, the Ford Company in the United States appeared a transport vehicle with track guidance, which also provided a prototype for the emergence of AGV in the future.

In 1953, the first real AGV was born in the United Kingdom. The AGV was transformed from a traction tractor and adopted the electromagnetic guidance method, which also started the research and promotion of AGV. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, various types of traction AGVs were widely used in Europe.

In the 1960s, computer technology began to be applied to the control and management of AGVs.

In the mid-1970s, due to the popularization of microprocessor and computer technology and the maturity of servo drive technology, complex controllers were greatly improved, making the operation of AGVs more flexible. In 1972, the first automated guided vehicle system was developed and installed in Volvo, Sweden. In 1973, Volvo adopted a large number of AGV trolleys on the car assembly line for computer-controlled assembly operations, expanding the use of AGV trolleys.

In 1984, General Motors of the United States introduced AGV into its own flexible assembly system and became the largest AGV user at that time. In the 1980s, American companies developed AGVs to a more advanced level based on European technology. They used advanced computer systems to improve transportation efficiency and carrying weight, and also improve the reliability of AGV trolleys. Make AGV technology more mature. In the 1990s, the number of AGV manufacturers continued to increase, and the types of models continued to increase.

2.2 Development inJapan

Japan first introduced AGVs in 1963. In the 1970s, the development of AGV was highly valued in Japan. However, unlike Europe and the United States, which pursue the improvement of functions and advanced technology, they have developed in the direction of modularization and simplicity, reducing the cost to the extreme. AGVs have been widely used in Japan in the 1980s, and many new technologies have been gradually applied. In AGV, AGV has gradually penetrated into various fields of industrial production, and the technology has become more and more mature.

2.3 Development in China

In 1976, Beijing Hoisting Machinery Research Institute developed the first AGV trolley and built the first AGV ball processing demonstration system. In 1988, Beijing Postal Science and Technology Research Institute developed a postal hub AGV trolley. But at this time, our domestic AGVs are still in the laboratory stage, and have not really been applied to actual industrial production.

Since 1991, Shenyang Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences / SIASUN Robotics Automation Co., Ltd. has developed AGV trolleys for passenger car production for Shenyang Jinbei Automobile, which were soon used in automobile assembly lines. Since then, AGVs have also been truly applied to the industry in China. in production.

In 1997, Kunzhou Shipbuilding established a national key logistics laboratory, and developed the first AGV verification system and the first laser-guided AGV car in China. In the following ten years, domestic AGVs have also entered a stage of steady development. AGVs have also been introduced into manufacturing, food, light industry and other industries, and AGVs have entered various fields of national production.

2.4 The future development trend of AGV – the new “autonomous mobile robot” AMR

In 2012, Amazon’s warehouse sorting AGV was born, and the popularity of warehouse robots also led to the further expansion of AGV applications. After that, AGV began to develop in a more autonomous direction. On the basis of AGV, a new concept has been put forward the application and popularization of AMR (Automated Mobile Robot, “Autonomous Mobile Robot”) navigation technology has also promoted the transformation of conveying equipment from “automatic guidance” of AGV to “autonomous movement” of AMR. AMR can use software to draw a map of the surrounding environment or import the environment map in advance, and can generate the most convenient path according to the map, which greatly improves the flexibility of the handling equipment. Traditional AGVs generally use electromagnetic, magnetic stripe or two-dimensional code navigation methods, while AMRs use SLAM real-time positioning and map construction technology, and are equipped with visual sensors or laser guidance devices to achieve autonomous navigation. It also opened the prelude to the development of intelligent AGV.

3. Prospects of “Autonomous Mobile Robots” AGV·AMR

3.1 Technical Prospects

In recent years, the technological innovation of AGVs has accelerated significantly, mainly reflected in the following three aspects:

·Combined with 5G and big data technology

·Continuous improvement of perception ability, independent decision-making ability and intelligence

·Intelligent leap of “AGV + robotic arm”

Many well-known domestic and foreign companies have made great progress in related fields. In foreign countries, Universal Robots automatically builds map navigation in combination with mobile trolleys to realize material grabbing and logistics transfer in a wide range of spaces.

In China, Han’s has launched mobile robots. Through the integration of AGV, robotic arms and vision software, the robots can realize functions such as autonomous movement, visual recognition, automatic grasping, and handling; SIASUN composite robots integrate intelligent mobile robots, general industrial The robot also incorporates a vision system and a variety of navigation configurations. I believe that with the continuous advancement of technology, the digital era of production and life will soon come.

3.2 Market Outlook

There is huge room for market development. In recent years, the application field of AGV robots has taken the lead in extending from traditional fields such as automobiles, e-commerce warehousing, electronics, etc. to emerging fields such as new energy, environmental protection equipment, high-end equipment, warehousing and logistics; At the same time, AGV robot enterprise solutions in various places have also developed from traditional automobile and 3C manufacturing to new scenarios and new industries. In the future, the scale of AGV robots will continue to expand.

According to the global information management market survey report, the “AGV·AMR” market will reach a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 35% by 2026, and is expected to reach 13.5 billion US dollars. The number of installed units will exceed 1.5 million in the next five years.

At present, the era of intelligence has become the general trend. AGV trolleys are the basis of intelligent conveying systems. my country has issued a series of policies for artificial intelligence and intelligent equipment, and increased attention and support for intelligent equipment such as AGV robots. In the next few years AGV will be one of the most promising industries in China.

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